Friday, March 27, 2009

Birding has its Rewards

I was birding the other day and came across a Wood Duck. I watched as the Wood Duck mucked in the cattails at the far edge of the un-frozen swamp for sometime. I was hoping that it would move closer so I could get a good photo. Wood Ducks are one of my favorites and I think the most difficult to get a good image of because of the contrast between of all the light and dark colors. I'm always excited when I find a woody and ever hopeful that this may be the time I get a signature image. But it wasn't going to be today because the woody was just staying back in the reeds, feeding. Oh well, the next time.

As I was walking back to my car, I noticed something moving out of the corner of my eye. A quick look through my binoculars and I could see that it was a Muskrat and it was heading my way. Using my car as a blind I was able to watch and photograph the Muskrat as it foraged around on the open waters of the swamp looking for food, unaffected by my presence. Watching this little guy go about his business without a care in the world was one of those magic moments that is a side benefit of birdwatching .
Ahhhh, The rewards of birdwatching!


Equipment used: Canon 40 d with a EF 400 f5.6 lens hand held

All Rights reserved, © 2009 Peter Manship

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Red-tailed Hawk at Great Meadows Charlestown NH

Driving down Rt 5 south of Charlestown NH I stopped to look over the waterfowl at Great Meadows when this hawk shows up out in the field and was just hanging there Hover-Hunting.
With the sun in my eyes I thought Rough-legged Hawk hover-hunting. The hawk then flew over to a snag right next to the road. I got this image and realized that this hawk could be a Red-tailed Hawk which also hover-hunts sometimes. The difference is the height the red-tailed was at , about a third of the distance closer to the ground then a Rough-legged Hawk would hover-hunt at. From this new angle I could see the tail banding and the what I call spangled breast feathers of the Red-tail as apposed to the dark more solid belly and single dark tail band of the Rough-legged hawk. So if I hadn't tried to get a photo of this bird on the snag I would have ID-ed this bird as a Rough-legged hawk an been 100% wrong . Which is one of the many reasons that I love birding, your always learning something new about the birds your watching... This last image I got driving home on rt103 in Rockingham Vt, the hawk was gliding along in big circles which allowed me to get a good image.



All Rights reserved, © 2009 Peter Manship

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Northern Harrier hunting

Driving home from Dead Creek WMA yesterday on a dirt road in Bridport Vt (not sure of the name) when a Northern Harrier popped up flying alone side my car down the road, Hunting. My friend asked how fast are you going? 33-34 mph I said, grabbed my camera, stuck it out the window and fired. The bird turned changing direction, I fired two more images off and the hawk went right over the car out into the field and land on it's pray. Luck is a has it's rewards, what a magic moment to watch.
Later on, heading home on rt 103 in Mt Holly Vt I spotted this Barred Owl sitting on the powerline to bring an end to a great day of Birding. For a list of the whole day here is a Link to the list:

All Rights reserved, © 2009 Peter Manship

Friday, March 6, 2009

Ring-necked Pheasant in East Shoreham Vt.

After having had a beautiful day of birding I was headed home on the Richville rd when I saw the unmistakable bright red and gold of a Ring-necked Pheasant in a thicket just down the hill from the East Shoreham cemetery. (Richville road east) By the time I got my car turned around the bird had moved to the other side of the road. It took me a few minutes to re-locate it hiding in a larger group of bushes were it was not giving up very good looks. A noise truck passing spooked the bird and it took to the wing in classic pheasant on the run manner.
This bird was calling loudly as if trying to locate another bird (female maybe) and it's coloring was just fabulous, bright red head, golden browns to rufous against the snow covered background, just beautiful. What a great way to end a day of birding.


P.S. I was informed that not to fare from where I found the pheasant there is a private pheasant hunting business that on occasion a few luck birds escape from. It was a beautiful sight out in the natural environment......alive

story and images © 2009 Peter Manship